Parents' Guide to

The Killing of John Lennon

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Intense, upsetting look inside an assassin's mind.

Movie NR 2008 114 minutes
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Gloomy and angry, Chapman doesn't provide much in the way of standard biopic fodder. Certainly, he's extremely troubled; his favorite movies are Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and Ordinary People -- which all focus on unhappy individuals trying to change their worlds with violence. "I was Mr. Nobody," Chapman says, "'til I killed the biggest somebody on earth."

While the film relies on some clichés to convey Chapman's distress (low-angle views of his sad face, slow-motion shots of city sidewalks), it also suggests his frustrating contexts: Speedy media and unattainable wealth surround him. Evoking Chapman's inability to see outside his own rage and needs by using long sequences of fragmented images, the movie makes clear that he was less deviant than a logical product of his moment. More tragically, his story can be seen as a projection, a look forward into the "future" (i.e. our own present) of celebrity culture.

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